America's cities are overrun with
severely mentally ill and drug-addicted homeless men who are a danger to
themselves, others, and to quality of life in their communities. The media refuses to cover this crisis accurately and politicians stand by and act helpless to
fix the problem.
We are founding Unsafe Streets to shine a light on this scandal and pressure city and state leaders to do something about it.
In many cities, homeless drug addicts have been allowed to dominate public spaces: sidewalks, parks, public transportation, and libraries. This trend makes these places unwelcoming and unsafe, especially for the elderly, women, and children. Some of these addicts are violent and target those who are the least able to fight back: they often victimize the elderly, women, and even children. Just a few examples are listed below.
- A homeless man in Capitol Hill threw a brick at an 11-month-old girl in a stroller, fracturing her eye socket and requiring she receive 19 stitches.
- In 2019, a man with a history of homelessness and mental illness stabbed a 27-year-old woman to death while she was walking her dog.
In New York City:
- A panhandler on the subway repeatedly punched in the face a 2-year-old child sleeping in his mother's arms. The boy is likely to suffer chronic seizures as a result.
- A 56-year-old woman walking to the store was punched in the face and then stabbed in the back with a broken bottle by a homeless man. The victim required stitches.
In San Francisco:
- A homeless man repeatedly stabbed a 94-year-old woman who was out for a morning walk. The victim required surgery and is now no longer able to live independently. The attacker was wearing an ankle monitor as a consequence of recent burglary charges.
- In 2020, a 94-year-old man walking his dog was attacked by a homeless man with a stick. The victim fell and died from his injuries.
- A homeless man punched a 66-year-old woman at a train station, causing her to fall into the tracks. The victim suffered a broken eye socket, a concussion, and a dislocated wrist. This attack took place just one day after the same man was released from jail for punching a 60-year-old woman in the face. The victim in that prior incident fell, hit her head, and was knocked unconscious.
- A 31-year-old woman was stabbed to death by a homeless man while she was out walking. The same man had recently attacked a 50-year-old woman and a 25-year-old woman. The first victim suffered a broken nose and required stitches on her head, and the second victim's head injuries were so severe that first responders thought she had been shot.
Unsafe Streets will raise awareness of this wave of violence and elevate the voices of victims and families who are willing to share their stories about the impact that homeless addicts have had on their communities.
These addicts must be taken off the streets, forced to enter treatment, and be under regular supervision. Unsafe Streets will work to develop detailed policy solutions that build on the following common-sense measures.
- Get addicts off the streets and into supervised residential settings and keep them there: Immediately place the seriously mentally ill and drug addicted homeless into psychiatric hospitals, 24-hour homeless shelters, group homes, or prison, if appropriate or necessary.
- Strictly enforce the laws which homeless addicts are breaking with impunity: Focus on enforcing laws against public drug use, camping in parks and on sidewalks, public defecation and indecency, theft, and assault.
- Place the seriously mentally ill and drug-addicted homeless under long-term or permanent supervision: Qualified state officers should be deployed to provide ongoing supervision of these dangerous individuals, whether living in the community or in an institutional setting.
How will Unsafe Streets use the funds raised here?
Unsafe Streets is seeking start-up funding to hit the ground running and start making progress on this problem. These early funds are critical to launching with maximum impact. Goals for this round of funding are to:
- Launch a high-caliber website and social media presence to raise awareness of the problem and build support for common-sense solutions.
- Hire a small team to document the ongoing impact of homeless addicts on America’s cities and public spaces and begin creating resources for citizens to organize for local change.
- Recruit a board of like-minded leaders and experts from a range of fields, including law enforcement, journalism, addiction treatment, and state and local government, to inform our efforts and multiply our impact.
Unsafe Streets’ longer-term goals include developing model policies and advocacy tools that citizens can use in their own communities and engaging independent investigative journalists to dig into the impacts of homeless addicts on individual cities and their public functions like parks, public transportation, fire and emergency services, and libraries.
Please join us in the fight to reclaim our public spaces and make our communities safe!